GSC request more active role in committees
(Editor's note: The Tech received a copy of this letter addressed to President Paul E. Gray '54.)
We are writing in regards to your letter of Sep. 10 concerning an Ad Hoc Committee on Demonstrations which you wish to appoint. In that letter you asked that the Graduate Student Council provide you with a candidate list from which you would interview and select members. The GSC has been working during the past few months to democratize its undertakings. The process you suggest for appointing members of this committee would not work well with the new GSC method for committee representation.
Our current method for committee representation requires that graduate representatives to all Institute committees -- including faculty, presidential, ad hoc, and others -- be chosen by the GSC and not be subjected to any additional approval process. If, for some reason, the committee has an unresolvable problem with a GSC representative, the committee may vote to request a different representative from the GSC.
A more general concern is the formation of a committee with graduate student representation without the consultation of the GSC. We feel a more equitable approach should be pursued. We ask that, if the faculty or the administration would like to form a committee, either standing or ad hoc, and they would like graduate student participation, then they should make a request to the GSC. The GSC will decide if it supports graduate student participation in a certain committee. In this way, when graduate students participate in these committees, they will do so with the support and representational voice of the graduate students.
The GSC has voted that for all committees on which there are graduate student representatives the committee's report must be approved by the entire committee rather than solely the chair.
Finally, in regards to this particular committee to look at the MIT policy on demonstrations, it was not clear to the members of the GSC Executive Committee what this committee would look like. If it is to formulate policy on the Institute's posture towards demonstrations, then this committee must be large enough to represent the MIT community. Your letter does not indicate what the proportional representation on this committee would be.
Given that this committee will obviously focus on the fundamental issue of freedom of speech at the university, we expect it will consist of approximately five faculty, five undergraduate students, five graduate students, and at least five staff members (at least three of which should be non-administrative staff selected by their constituency).
Our experience with ad hoc committees at MIT has not been favorable. In past committees, when graduate student opinion has run counter to the current administrative posture, our voice has been stifled. Chairs of these committees have published committee reports without the consultation of and even against the objections of their graduate student members.
Even when such reports are published, if the committee's advice differs from the administration's outlook, they are ignored. Therefore, the GSC feels that if such a committee were to form, that its policy recommendation should be made to the faculty, the Undergraduate Association and the GSC. If each of these three bodies supports the new policy, then it should be enacted.
We recommend that the faculty consider the points we have raised in this letter and make a proposal to the UA and GSC which addresses the focus, composition and powers of this committee. Each student government would then send its support or objections back to the faculty.
You stated that you wish to appoint this committee by Sep. 24, but in view of the above stated concerns, we feel this timetable is unrealistic. With last spring's protests clear in the memory of most members of the MIT community, we believe that the faculty and students will give this issue the attention it deserves.
Steve Penn G->
Graduate Student Council->